What is it?
No prizes for guessing that this is the new, much-improved version of the old Nissan 350Z. It's a tiny bit more expensive than before and there are now three different models to choose from: 370Z, 370ZGT and 370Z Ultimate.
All of them share the same basic mechanical specification, which consists of a new 3.7-litre, 326bhp V6 engine, a considerably tweaked rear-wheel drive chassis and a redesigned bodyshell that wouldn’t look out of place at next year’s Mr Universe contest.
Prices start from £27,000 for the entry-level version, rising to "approximately" £29,500 for the better specified GT and £32,000 for the top-level Ultimate. There’s also a brand new seven-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters available for an extra £1400 (it's standard in Ultimate spec), which we’ve tried, and which is excellent.
Nissan describes the new 370Z as being similar to the 350Z in personality, but 15-20 per cent sharper, which explains why it’s 32kg lighter, a tiny bit shorter both in bodyshell and wheelbase, and has a touch more power and torque – up from 309bhp and 264lb ft to 326bhp and 269lb ft.
What’s it like?
Although you need to be a particular type of driver to fully appreciate where Nissan is coming from with the 370Z, it’s an absolute riot on the right kind of road (and a pretty capable all-rounder on most other roads, truth be told). Just like the old car only more so, it’s a traditional rear-wheel-drive coupe that moves around a bit if you want it to but which has no nasty surprises up its sleeve.
There have been some big improvements when it comes to the car’s refinement and ride comfort, neither of which were 350Z strong suits. The ride in particular is notably more soothing than before and there’s a lot less tyre roar on uneven surfaces. The steering remains meaty and honest in its response but, again, it's smoother and less prone to kickback over mid-corner lumps and bumps.
The engine, too, is considerably more free-revving than of old and no longer as rough at high revs, even though it has lost none of the muscular V6 character that so defined the previous motor. Performance isn’t shattering, but it’s still quick enough to hit 62mph in 5.7sec with a top speed limited to 155mph. Quicker than the old car, in other words, but not dramatically so.
The bottom line is that, although the 370Z is faster and even more fun to drive than its predecessor, it's also more usable everyday without being a whole lot more expensive. And the new auto gearbox is just excellent.
Should I buy one?
The 350Z always was a big old hunk of car for not a huge amount of money, and the 370Z continues along that same tried, trusted and highly desirable path. It looks great, goes well, feels as if it would last forever and isn’t overly expensive.
As a little brother to the GT-R it makes a very good case for itself, and even as a rival for the more expensive Porsche Cayman it more than keeps its head above water.